Did you know that breathing is the new Botox in the migraine world? Yes, it’s true.
Something as simple as a bodily function has the power to mitigate depression, anxiety and stress, all of which are commonly a result of suffering with chronic migraines and in turn only make suffering with migraines so much worse.
Meditation using diaphragmatic breathing has also been shown to even improve cell health, balance hormones levels and even reduce blood pressure and it’s something that we all have the power to access, we just have to learn how.
How Can This Help My Migraines Then?
In order to explain to you how this can help you, I need to delve into the science behind it first but trust me it’s actually super interesting. So here we go.
Our nervous system is broken down into several different parts but what we are going to focus on today is two areas:
- The Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS)
- The Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS)
The sympathetic nervous system is connected with our ‘flight or fight’ response which I am sure you have heard of before. This was initially installed in us to protect us from that lion that was trying to eat us millions of years ago. However, our body is also designed to ‘rest and digest’, activating our parasympathetic nervous system after the threat has disappeared and the lion is no longer present.
Unfortunately nowadays, relaxation doesn’t happen anymore and we are all running around in panic mode and chronically stressed, either waiting for that lion (or in our case that migraine) that’s lurking around the corner. Now I know from personal experience, when my migraines were at their worst I spent all of my time in the SNS, ‘fight or flight’ mode’, on edge, living in constant fear of another attack.
However when I started to meditate and just breathe through my migraines and the pain, the miraculous used to happen. They would calm, my pain would begin to lessen and without question the duration of the migraine would reduce and until this day I never really knew the reason why this happened, but now I do. I was switching my body from ‘flight or fight’ to my ‘rest and digest’ system without even knowing it. God I wish someone had told me how powerful meditation using deep belly breathing was when I was super sick but hey, now I’m telling you so that’s all that matters.
So Why Is Being In The ‘Rest and Digest’ System So Important?
Without returning to the ‘rest and digest’ system, with the extended release of stress hormones in your body it lowers your immunity, makes you more susceptible to illness (more migraines) and means that your body is never able to heal, restore and repair. Deep belly breathing can also reduce tension in the neck and the shoulders which again, I am sure most people can relate to when suffering from a migraine.
How Do I Practice This Then?
Right, so find a comfortable, quiet space where you will not be disturbed, ideally sitting upright on a chair or a bed. My top tip is do not lie down otherwise there is a very high chance you will fall asleep. Happens to me every time!
Place your hands on your belly, thumbs touching on the navel and connecting your index fingers together so that you are making a heart shape with your hands.
On the inhale your belly will expand as you fill your diaphragm with air which will push your hands outwards and away from your body. Try to do this slowly and to the count of five in your head, hold for a second at the top and then exhale contracting your diaphragm and releasing the air out through the mouth and the hands should fall back towards your body again.
Personally I find doing this whilst listening to some calming music such as the sound of waves washing up onto the shore makes this even more powerful.
Now check you out! You’re now a qualified mindfulness and meditation guru!
I honestly don’t believe I would be here today, over 4 months migraine free without learning to breathe and by finding some calm in my pain. This was a game changer for me and I know it can be for you too.
#DeepBreathing #Mindfulness #Health #Meditation #Healing